Blog Archives

August 15 – 21, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON… about Errett Circle Church, Sentinel’s no local news, Bill Maher and China… GREENSITE… on virus and class … KROHN… Sheltering in place and what will things be like on the other side… STEINBRUNER… on Kaiser, water, and closed parks PATTON… on don’t close the beaches … EAGAN…Sub Cons and Deep Cover JENSEN… slacking or being productive?… QUOTES…”BINGE WATCHING”


SANTA CRUZ, THE BAY, THE SAN LORENZO, NEARY LAGOON…1948. Just waiting for the Tsunami!!! But seriously squint closely to see the huge sand bar under the San Lorenzo Bridge where our city-owned parking lot used to be.

Those were the days.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

Funeral director Caitlyn Doughty has a Youtube channel called “Ask a Mortician”. It is very much worth watching; this episode is about the misconceptions about refrigerated trucks and mass burials in NYC

April 13

The many neighbors and folks from far and wide are still struggling mightily to save their Errett Circle Community church. They have a new website at – it shows their planned events, it shows the faith and determination their community has in defeating the developers from dividing the property into sections and making fortunes from that community sacrifice. As the neighbors say in their website…”WE are in the process of starting our fundraising campaign to buy back 111 Errett Circle. Soon we’ll have our non-for-profit status and we can begin to accept donations online. Please share our website with all of your neighbours and friends to get the word out!

We also wanted to give an update on the current owner’s development process. The Planning Commission is holding a meeting on April 16 and is restricting public access because of COVID-19. We have emailed city council members and the planning commissioner to ask that the meeting be postponed until the public can be present, and have been told that we will be able to submit our comments in writing beforehand. We encourage all of you to write emails to the planning commission asking that the public be able to attend in some way or have the meeting delayed (Ryan Bane – or Lee Butler –

We’d also like to encourage the planning commission to consider asking the owners for more public space than the current plans allow for, possibly a public park on the section of land that looks down Woodrow Ave. In your letters you can include any ideas that you have that you think would make the plan better for the whole community!
If you’d like to receive emails about the purchase of 111 Errett Circle, please email: to get on our list, or  submit a contact form on the website.

SENTINEL’S HOLIDAY COVERAGE? For the first time ever the city of Santa Cruz was really illegal for tourists to visit over the Easter weekend. Beaches all along the coast were “locked” (taped off), Boardwalk was flu-ted out, and the police were standing at the ready. How many $1500 tickets were issued? Any fights? What happened to our town under this new illegalization? Not a word or report in the Sentinel? It doesn’t take experience to check this needed news. I support and subscribe to it because it’s all we got in non-sponsored news.

BILL MAHER’S OTHER SIDE? I was flipping past Maher’s show just at the moment he carried on about how we should be kind to our Chinese-American friends but that all the most serious flu epidemics in history came from China. It dawned on me…is Bill Maher the left wing Donald Trump? Read how “The Daily Beast” sees Maher… It’s not just you and me !

April 13th 2020

A Class Act

If there is proof needed that we live in a class society it is contained in the same page headlines on two different subjects on section A6 in the Sentinel of 4/13/2020. One is titled “Tax paying immigrants won’t get stimulus checks” and the other, “Wave riders ponder pandemic rule.”

I wrote about the former last week. Following the lack of response from the city council on the exclusion from a stimulus check of laid-off undocumented workers who pay taxes, I wrote Congressman Jimmy Panetta. His form reply was detailed and answered my question affirming that fact, including no payment for the children of such workers, despite their being citizens. When interviewed on CNN Panetta spoke to the issue directly with specifics and pledged to get it addressed. One might ask where was the Democratic Party in all of this? Maybe they tried and failed to get its inclusion? Maybe they thought it too controversial to get the stimulus bill passed? Maybe they thought no votes are to be gained since undocumented workers like permanent residents cannot vote? On a simple human level, anything other than insisting that the estimated 4.3 million workers without legal status who pay taxes via a Taxpayer ID number (since they cannot apply for a Social Security number) should receive the same payments as all workers is callous and shortsighted. Those without documents who don’t pay taxes are a different issue.

The words of one woman interviewed might touch your heart. Working as a housekeeper and filing a tax return annually (it’s the right thing to do, she says) she is out of work, having lost most of her clients. She has been in the US for 30 years. Similar to my friends in the same situation, most were brought as young children to the US. Don’t think for a moment they have not tried to secure permanent residency or citizenship. One of my friends brought to the USA as an 8 year-old filed papers for citizenship in 2003. He is still waiting. No, the papers are not lost. It just takes time the officials say.

Of course you can help! Write to Panetta and express support for insisting that workers who are undocumented and who pay taxes should receive the same financial help as all other workers who pay taxes, including their children. I’ll refrain from overly commenting on the paltry sum of money allocated. Canada was able to allocate $8000 to each worker as a lump sum plus $2000 a month for the duration of the stay at home orders.

And now for the really serious issue covered in the latter headline: a shut down on CA beaches including a ban on surfing. Oh the horrors! The workers “won’t get” a stimulus check but the surfers “ponder” the rule to keep out of the water in the interest of public health. What is this “pondering” all about? The surfer interviewed has surfed Huntington Beach for more than 30 years, about the same time that the aforementioned immigrant worker has been in the US doing work that most of us wouldn’t touch. The surfer on the other hand is braving it by carrying his board a long way and navigating barricades to get to the water. And the paid enforcers? “I even walked right past a lifeguard and he didn’t say anything,” the surfer recalled. “That’s how I knew it was OK.”

I have seen this scenario play out on West Cliff Drive since its closure. Driving home last week I saw two city rangers walking shoulder- to- shoulder on West Cliff Drive pass a person in the closed zoned without saying a word. Today, driving home I counted 128 people out on West Cliff. Most without masks, in close proximity and ignoring the prominent signs indicating the path is closed. Does our right to have fun trump public health? While the law abiding, thinking of others people stay close to home and walk or bike in the neighborhoods, the couldn’t care less, don’t tell me what to do crowd have West Cliff and the parks all for themselves. This is not ok. Rangers and police have paid jobs. We expect them to do their jobs. Looking the other way is not part of their job description.

As the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Arden said, commenting on how well New Zealanders were complying with the stay at home orders: “While compliance has been generally strong, there are still some I would charitably describe as idiots.”

What does it say about us that we cater to idiots and leave stranded the low wage, tax paying workers whose only lack is a piece of paper giving them the status they would be honored to hold?

Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.


April 14, 2020

Review of Emerging Thought While Under Lockdown

Sheltering in Place…
We will get through this. And with our collective efforts we will come through it maybe with a changed perspective on how to live and new appreciation for our friends, family, and colleagues. Is it possible we might change our views on how we build, what we build, and who we build for? And what about our transportation habits, might the pandemic give us pause to contemplate how we get around, where we travel to…or not, the potential for Santa Cruz to be a transportation model while providing support for those who live here now? I’ve been doing some reading, as I am sure many of you have too. I offer four hopeful pieces below on how we might use this adversity to create positive change for workers, renters, students, and the houseless…and it wouldn’t really be inventing anything new because it’s already being done elsewhere. It would just be borrowing an idea or two.

Now you see it, now you don’t.
So-long old friend, La Bahia on Beach Street, RIP.

Social Change Happens After Pandemics
Claire Cain Miller writes in the New York Times a cogent and optimistic piece about how pandemics have a way of “…shrinking the gap between the rich and the poor, or empowering the working class.”  How is it other countries require paid sick leave, subsidized childcare, and universal healthcare, but not the U.S.? Can we learn from this crisis?

Lay Offs and Unemployment
How is it that Germany has avoided massive layoffs and unemployment has increased perhaps by no more than 1% so far as all countries everywhere race to ‘flatten the curve?’ But in the U.S., we will likely surpass the highest unemployment during the Great Depression, 25%, as unprecedented numbers of workers are laid-off. It is a dire jobs picture right now, with the $1200 checks lagging and rent due for so many on May 1st. How does Europe do it?

Pedestrians Rule!
Many are now dreaming, planning(?), and re-visioning a transportation future that is not dependent on car culture. It has been exciting to watch NYC try and transform itself into a livable city. First came CitiBike, then moveable outdoor furniture all over mid-town Manhattan, and also opening up of major streets on Sundays for peds and bikes as well as skateboarders and roller-bladers. Then came the many-year negotiation of “congestion-pricing” for vehicles going into Manhattan. That is set to begin next year. But now, with the Covid-19 crisis and city residents in lockdown a different research project is taking place. “Yet the wide-open streets have fueled talk of possibilities that seemed unlikely even a month ago: large car-free zones, a network of connected pedestrian-only streets and an explosion of bike lanes that could be used for delivering packages by cargo bikes.” Could Santa Cruz be far behind?

Nova Coronavirus Covid-19, May Force Progressive Change on U.S.
Jonathan Freeland writing in the Guardian newspaper points out that so much of the national, and local, progressive agenda has been given a jumpstart by the Covid-19 crisis, but will the changes stay? So much of what Bernie Sanders, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ro Khanna, and other progresistas have been touting is now being implemented because of the crisis: guaranteeing housing, freezing evictions, mandatory drug price reductions and free coronavirus testing, implementing the Defense Production Act, drastically reducing our massive incarceration rate, and allowing the homeless to also shelter in place has spawned a renewed effort to find more permanent housing. There is much hope to draw upon from Freeland’s opinion piece. Not to mention the numerous rent strikes being organized around California (Link to Anti-eviction mapping project).

Freeland’s piece is here

PS If you are wondering about the direct payments the federal government has been discussing, small economic shrapnel from Andrew Yang’s UBI plan (Universal Basic Income) really, then check out this summary of Republican-Democrat plans.

Trump knows mail-in ballots mean a larger voter turnout, which he does not want to see.

That is pretty pathetic.

My colleagues and I are working as hard as we can to pass legislation so that as many people as possible can safely participate in our democracy.

From NPR Politics Tweet:


“President Trump has incorrectly denounced voting by mail as widely susceptible to fraud.

But Trump himself voted by mail in Florida’s presidential primary last month — and Florida Republicans have long supported mail-in ballots.”

(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at

It appears so, if you look at the slides presented April 2, 2020 for a teleconferenced public hearing. This massive project, located at 5940 Soquel Avenue (near Chanticleer Avenue), was initially presented to the public at an open house in 2018 as a Kaiser Medical facility. However, nowhere in the recent presentation will you find Kaiser’s name. In fact, the opening slide announces “Santa Cruz County Medical Office Building Environmental Impact Report”. Hmmm….

Take a look at the images of this four-story medical building and the four-story 730 car parking garage.

Interestingly, Kaiser Permanente awarded $500,000 to fund the large project in Live Oak at 1500 Capitola Road that will include a two-story Dientes clinic and a separate two-story low-cost medical clinic, adjacent to a three-story affordable housing complex. Those clinics are supposed to open in 2021.
Money talks, doesn’t it?

Here is a link to the December 27, 2018 Sentinel article about the public open house, announcing the Kaiser Project and the San Diego developer handling the application: Live Oak site eyed for medical center

According to that article, Kaiser plans to have the new facility open in 2023. Wow.

In my opinion, a good point to make is that a better alternative site would be the vacant Toys R Us and Marshall’s building just across the freeway that is closer to existing public transit (the proposed site has NONE), and is near Dominican Hospital and other medical complexes (not to mention a proposed 24/7 drive-through CVS pharmacy across the way near the Union 76 gas station).

Public comment on this massive four-story medical office and adjacent four-story 730-car parking garage has been extended by one week and will close on May 1, 2020 at 5pm. Make sure you send your comments and issues that must be addressed about this project to:
Stephanie Hansen <>

Another big question is why aren’t the BeachComber Mobile Home Park residents receiving notice about this project that would loom over their back yards and forever destroy their quality of life? This proposed medical facility will operate 8am-8pm, with some services being 24/7. Reliable information from residents in the Park is that only the group’s President attended the 2018 Project open house, but no one has heard anything further about the status of the Project.

Hmmm…does this seem to you that the County Planning Dept. and Kaiser are neglecting proper noticing of a disadvantaged community???

If you have any comments you would like to submit, please visit the County’s environmental webpage to review the documents available

Here is what I recently sent to Ms. Hansen, to which I have received no response.

Dear Ms. Hansen,
Thank you for this information. I have reviewed it and, while the April 2 presentation slides are helpful, I wonder if the meeting was audio recorded? Hearing the discussions would be very valuable.

I find it curious that nowhere in the presentation is the name “Kaiser” applied, and in fact, the first slide is entitled “County of Santa Cruz Medical Office Building” with the County Seal prominently shown next to it. This is misleading, unless this project truly is being funded and will be operated as a County-owned medical facility. Can you please clarify this matter and why Kaiser is not mentioned at all?

How many participants were there at the April 2 remote presentation? How were people who participated by telephone able to access the presentation slides during the session?

What level of outreach is the County Planning Dept. providing to the Beach Comber Mobile Home Park residents? I notice the slides are all in English; was there a Spanish translator available at the April 2 presentation? I am somewhat familiar with that community and know that many are Spanish speakers.

I have already submitted comment regarding the 5490 Soquel Project Scoping, but will review the documents along with the presentation slides and submit further comment.

Finally, while I do appreciate that the Planning Department has extended the public comment period for this large project’s Scoping by one week, I respectfully request that the public comment period be extended by at least 60 days.

Given the severe restrictions on the public’s ability to gather for meaningful community discussions, I feel that a 60-day extension, or a postponement of the Project’s EIR process until the COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted, is reasonable, due to the magnitude of potentially significant impacts the project presents to the Live Oak community. This community is considered to be a disadvantaged community.

Thank you again for your help in reviewing this project. I look forward to your response.
Becky Steinbruner

Has local law enforcement imposed martial law? So it seems, when Sheriff Jim Hart insists that surfers will be fined $500/hour for going out to enjoy the waves. Will he next make it illegal to ride a bicycle or jog? Those are all equally solitary sports, yet last week, law enforcement pressured County Health Director Dr. Gail Newel into closing down the beaches and making surfing illegal until April 15.

“We were getting information from social media that large numbers of people were planning to visit Santa Cruz from out of the area. Law enforcement felt they would not be able to control the crowds.” said Dr. Newel during last Wednesday’s public teleconference with Supervisor John Leopold. She stressed that “unless law enforcement shows push-back”, she plans to re-open the parks and beaches on April 15, EXCEPT possibly skate parks and dog parks.

Dr. Newel also stated that County Sheriff Jim Hart has been proactively planning these measures for the past TWO months. At least two additional deputies have been hired on to monitor citizen compliance. Wow.

Here is the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s report that “Law enforcement agencies join together to tackle coronavirus” (page A4).

Sheriff Hart is quoted in this Santa Cruz Sentinel article

“On Wednesday, Hart said law enforcement agencies were working to provide “fair warning” to area residents in advance of enforcement starting tomorrow.

“We don’t want people in the water. We don’t want people in the parks. We don’t want people in the open spaces or the state parks,” Hart said. “And if people make the decision to go ahead and do those types of activities that I’ve described, they’re going to get a citation and the fine is going to be up to $1,000 each time they go out and do that.”
The Sheriff’s Office has teams dedicated to beach and park enforcement, Hart said. Violation of the new order constitutes a misdemeanor under state health code and is punishable by imprisonment, fines up to $1,000, or both.
Surfing Ban…

Hart said he has mainly heard support for the order from the area’s surfing community, particularly professional surfers.

For surfers who decide to flout the weeklong ban, Hart said they should expect a citation waiting for them when the get out of the water. “They gotta make a decision if it’s worth $500 an hour for them to be out in the water or not,” he said.”

County residents are getting citations for $1000 because they were parked in a vehicle, and watching the ocean waves breaking at the beach.

And Santa Cruz County residents are writing letters to the editor like this one in the San Jose Mercury News by Ms. Pat Emard of Aptos

Curiouser and curiouser….

What about Sweden’s approach?  Sweden sticks to ‘low-scale’ lockdown despite rise in coronavirus deaths

click here to continue (link expands, click again to collapse)

With County CAO warning the Board of Supervisors recently that a recession would bring a possible $12 million deficit, one must wonder what the Junes’s budget hearing will be like?
Well, if the April 14, 2020 Board of Supervisor agenda is any indication, it will be gloomy for a very long time.

Consider Consent agenda Item #42 that is a resolution to approve lease contracts with three businesses to provied shelters and storage for the County’s response to the coronavirus. County taxpayers will be paying $100,000/month to the 1440 Multi-versity (630 Bethany Drive) in Scotts Valley for possible off-site medical cneter use, leased on a month-by-month basis. We will likewise be paying $55,080/month for the 27 rooms at Salt Air Lidge (510 Liebrandt Avenue) in Santa Cruz to house homeless for an undetermined time, and $16,000/month for three months to a business in Royal Oaks (303A Salinas Road) for 6,708SF of storage and 503SF of office space to support the County’s response to the coronavirus.

That’s $171,080/month for who knows how long.

Has the Board forgotten the impending tsunami of debt from the CalPERS unfunded debt? That picture looks alarming if you read this article.

Call in, listen and ask questions next Tuesday, April 21, at 6pm, for a teleconference Town Hall meeting with County Administrative Officer Carlos Palacios and Supervisor Zach Friend. Look for announcement in the Santa Cruz Sentinel Coastlines but plan to call 831-454-2222 and connect with a code that will be soon assigned and made public. Call 831-454-2200 during regular business hours and ask, or write Zach Friend



Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor and finished with almost 30% of the votes.

Email Becky at


#105 / Social Distancing
Brad Goodwin’s letter from the Sunday, April 12, 2020, edition of the Santa Cruz Sentinel is reproduced below. Sounds like he may have heard the same story I did. The story I heard was that a Sheriff’s Deputy waited onshore until a single, solitary surfer came in from riding the waves, and that the Deputy then gifted the surfer with a $1,000 ticket.

That story may well be apocryphal, but I think there is a point worth thinking about in what Goodwin says. Social distancing is important. I support the current social distancing rules, and as an article published in the Sentinel yesterday makes pretty clear – “Wave Riders Ponder Pandemic Rule” – surfing is not, always, a “solitary” sport.

Still, enforcement zealotry can be counterproductive. This is, in fact, exactly the point made by Wall Street Journal editorial, in yesterday’s edition, which offered some non-surfing examples of the phenomenon. When I first became a member of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, I was a pretty zealous “law enforcer” (zoning, not surfing, was generally the area in which I focused). I learned early in my tenure, though, that if the government wants to maintain its credibility, discretion must be exercised on how to apply the rules in individual situations.

When it’s a big group on the beach, kicking back with beer and a bonfire, when its the “popular Steamers surf spot packed with people floating side-by-side and at times almost on top of one another,” that’s the time to make sure everyone takes those social distancing rules seriously. But when it’s a single surfer, seeking to maintain the surfer’s “physical and mental health,” as Goodwin puts it, I am inclined to think that criminal penalties are not a very good approach. Gift that solitary surfer with a conversation, not a $1,000 fine.


Banning surfing is a bad idea

You will likely not find a person more pro police than I. I was a police officer and sergeant for the Santa Cruz police with a total of 26 years in law enforcement (I bleed both blue and tan and green). But someone needs to state the obvious, the Sheriff needs to seriously reconsider his recent, seemingly arbitrary decision, to close parks and outlaw surfing.

In Santa Cruz, running, hiking, mountain biking in parks and surfing in the ocean, can easily be accomplished using social distancing. This is especially true for surfing, where, by definition, it is an individual sport. With the current sheltering in place, the powers that be should encourage such activities, to maintain physical and mental health, rather than discouraging them in these trying times.

— Brad Goodwin, Santa Cruz

Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at

Email Gary at


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Classic peeks inside our secret places…maybe?

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s comic down a few pages. As always, at you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog

Lisa writes: “Are we all a bunch of whining slackers if we’re not using this enforced downtime stuck at home to produce our next masterpiece? (Oh c’mon, you’ve all seen that meme about Shakespeare writing King Lear while under quarantine from the plague in London.) Consider how guilty you have to feel about it — or not — this week at, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.


Here’s some insight into flat earthers…

Binge Watching

You would not believe the amount of feedback I’ve gotten over people binge-watching The West Wing. Most of them have binge-watched it countless times.
~Rob Lowe

The problem with binge-watching on Netflix is that you lose three days of your life.
~Harland Williams

I love a good Netflix binge!
Simone Biles

I have taken a bit, when I find the time, to the odd television binge. Because television has improved so much, it’s worth binging.
~Sam Neill

COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Subscribe to the Bulletin! You’ll get a weekly email notice the instant the column goes online. (Anywhere from Monday afternoon through Thursday or sometimes as late as Friday!), and the occasional scoop. Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!

Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
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